In the weeks (and depending on where you are, months) since COVID-19 has affected societies worldwide, social distancing rules caused a dramatic shift of many everyday tasks online. The network has never mattered more. Everyone has moved to online meetings. Close friends of mine that have never used online conferencing are hosting “virtual happy hours” and their children’s school events online. Interestingly enough, even voice calls have also made a comeback with some providers reporting that usage was up noticeably since the beginning of the crisis.
While numerous experts around the world made dark predictions that internet infrastructure might not handle the increase in internet traffic from consumers stuck in their homes as quarantines were imposed, networks overall seem to have dealt with increased traffic loads. At the benefit of subscribers, many providers have raised bandwidth limits, are offering additional video content on top of existing service for free, and have announced further investment in their current network services. Several mobile providers have even announced that they have accelerated their 5G and Multi-Access Edge (MEC) planning and rollout plans.
Online meetings are an excellent option for those with access to broadband while they work from home—but what about the countless others with no broadband option? Consider some of the other use cases that have taken very recent prominence. I was reading an article in the San Jose Mercury News titled “Don’t think we’ll ever go back”: Coronavirus speeds shift to telemedicine, and the numbers are astonishing. Imagine the reach that 5G will one day provide to patients that have not had access to reliable broadband. In a recent article from Light Reading, Wall Street research analysts at MKM Partners wrote: “We believe the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated society’s transition to broadband and digitization by at least a decade, and that this trend will continue to march forward.” With healthcare services already listed as a top 5G and MEC use case, perhaps recent events will propel this critical application forward. And according to The Hill, “Recognizing the role telehealth can play in reducing patients’ potential exposure and helping reduce capacity burdens on health care facilities, Congress cleared barriers to greater usage of telehealth solutions in the early stages of its response to the crisis.”
The domain name system (DNS) has been an essential network element for enabling users to access internet-based services for years. The transition of communications service providers’ (CSPs’) services to a distributed cloud model are driving them to evaluate their DNS, DHCP, and IP Address Management (IPAM) strategies and product requirements. CSPs are entering the mass commercialization phase of distributed cloud technologies such as multi-access edge computing (MEC), 5G new radio (NR), and 5G next-generation core (NGC) networks.
Infoblox centralized IPAM and network automation streamline existing 4G networks while providing foundational DDI automation for 5G and the edge. Infoblox solves the challenges providers face with the buildout of 5G, from critical automation for authoritative 5G DNS and 5G next-generation core, bridging the automation gap in the 5G Session Management Function (SMF) with IPAM network assignment, and reducing the cost, complexity, and effort of 5G new radio (NR) deployments. Infoblox plays a significant role in 4G LTE performance and mobile service selection, and we continue to support service operators in their 5G and Edge rollout initiatives in several fundamental ways:
- Speed. We provide guaranteed performance for 5G and edge-based applications with cost-effective, ultra-low latency, streamlined, and automated DNS.
- Automation for 5G. As mobile providers evolve their networks from 4G to standalone 5G, the overwhelming scale of that evolution will drive a strong need for automation. Infoblox solves the challenges providers face with the buildout of 5G, from critical automation for authoritative 5G DNS and 5G next-generation core, bridging the automation gap in the 5G Session Management Function (SMF) with IPAM network assignment. We also reduce the cost, complexity, and effort of 5G new radio (NR) deployments thought the integration of DHCP and DNS as a significant part of an automated bare-metal provisioning process for 5G NR deployment.
- Automation for MEC. Considering that there will be significantly more pods and dynamic virtual machines to manage, operators will face considerable challenges due to an explosion of MEC applications. Infoblox provides streamlined and automated DNS for MEC applications through Kubernetes integration and integration with CoreDNS and ExternalDNS—helping automate the error-prone and time-consuming manual tasks associated with deploying and managing DNS, DHCP, and IP address management (IPAM) required for continuous network availability and service uptime.
- Security. As service provider compute shifts from centralized to edge locations, Infoblox provides greater protection through DNS DDoS Mitigation to protect the critical DNS infrastructure that is the “heartbeat” of provider networks. We secure the DNS services running on the MEC instances and provides greater security by helping ensure that subscriber data never leaves the provider network slice.
DNS plays a tremendous role in our digital future. I invite you to our April 30 webinar titled DNS and the Edge: The Evolution Will Be Distributed. Based on a custom Heavy Reading survey report produced for Infoblox, Heavy Reading Chief Analyst Jim Hodges will join us as we present some of the findings that detail the key results of a market research survey designed to document CSPs’ DNS evolution strategies, identify the use-cases that will have DNS impacts and document the challenges that CSPs face in a DNS context to transition to a distributed services model.